Anne Taintor talks to us about her new cocktail book… Plus: Win a copy

anne taintor i'm so happy it's happy hourUpdate: Entries now closed. I checked and eliminated multiples including extra comments and spun the Random Number Generator. A winner has been chosen, and she has 7 days to respond. If I don’t hear from her, the next person in line will be hearing from me. 

Anne Taintor’s new book — “I’m so happy it’s happy hour: sinfully delicious cocktails for any occasion” — is out. In it, she features 42 vintage-classic, Taintor-tested cocktails, each cleverly paired with one of her famous vintage captioned collages. The publicist sent me a free copy: This book is HILARIOUS, and I may just make it my #1 holiday gift suggestion for 2011. Stock up on some copies, and if you get a last minute invite to a party or dinner: Grab a book … run to the liquor store and grab the fixins for one of the cocktails … tie everything up in a pretty bag … and not only will you have a lovely matchy matchy hostess gift, you also will be helping to guarantee a lively soiree. Sure to be invited back next year! Meanwhile, I asked if Anne would answer some of my seriously silly questions about the book, considering the Vital Importance of Cocktails…. Also, leave a comment and you can enter to win a copy. Read on for creative wisdom from the one-and-only Anne Taintor –>

anne taintor one cocktail away
An all-time fave: Featured with Anne's recipe for a Whistling Gypsy

Anne, why is it that cocktails are so much more … interesting … than wine or beer?

Part of the magic of cocktails is the way everything works together. I was hesitant – to say the least – when I mixed my first Peckerhead. Southern Comfort? Sloe Gin? That sounded like a recipe for college flashback hell. But quite to the contrary, the Peckerhead turned out to be a delicious and refreshing cocktail! I was equally nervous when I shook up my first Merry Widow. Benedictine by itself makes me gag. But mixed with gin, sweet vermouth, pastis, and bitters it is quite divine.

Another part of the allure of the cocktail is in the process. When I assemble all the bottles, the shaker, the lime juicer, the teaspoons, and the frosted cocktail glasses, the ritual says “I am SO done working” much more emphatically than popping a beer bottle top ever did.

And then there’s history. Sure, there are impressive lineages of wine and beer drinkers as well, but, like my parents before me, I’ll always play proudly for Team Cocktail.

anne taintor pink squirrel
Hey, this one has best of both worlds. Featured with Anne's recipe for a Pink Squirrel

Which is funnier (and why): Cocktails or sex?

I’ve been told that cocktails make me think I’m funny. Sex does not have that effect on me. And looking at cocktails and sex from a purely mercenary point of view, there is just no contest. Dollar for dollar, cocktails are far funnier than sex. I often wonder just how many captions about drinking I can sell – because I have a lot – and the answer seems to be “infinite.” Whenever I write a caption that I think it’s absolutely hilarious, if it touches on sex it’s a dud. Maybe people laugh more about cocktails because, let’s face it, cocktails don’t generally bring up feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.

anne taintor cocktail book
This one gets a Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri - yum!

Did you really test all of these cocktails? Any mishaps you’d care to tell us about (if you can remember)?

Many cocktail recipes have a lot of variations, so a number of the cocktails included in this book were tested several times. I must have tried at least six variations of El Presidente, and the one I chose, while the most delicious in my opinion, is not the original authentic recipe created in Havana in the 1920s and named after president Gerardo Machado. I also, with the help of my nephew, tested several variations of the Pink Squirrel. Then there were those cocktails that were just plain yucky… which meant more testing for replacement cocktails. So… towards the end of my research I was experiencing extreme cocktail fatigue and turned to my editors at Chronicle Books for help. They graciously tested the Zombie, the Best in Show, The Dirty Girl Scout and a few others I simply had no energy left to drink.

What does a person’s cocktail say about them, do ya think?

Before I started researching this book I was a one-cocktail girl. I liked martinis, and I liked them made with Hendrick’s gin. I’m also the kind of person who could go to a restaurant and order the same meal every time. Does that say I know what I like? Or does it say I lack a sense of adventure? Or that I fear being disappointed? Collecting and testing the recipes in this book has certainly broadened my drinking horizons. Could the fact that I moved across country immediately after completing the book be purely coincidental?

Win a copy of Anne Taintor’s new book,
I’m so happy it’s happy hour

The rules:

  • To win: Comment below about your favorite cocktail. Or just, ‘gimme’. Non-drinkers welcome, too, of course. Remember: All things in moderation!
  • I’ll choose the winner by Random Number Generator Tues. morning-ish, Oct. 18.
  • You must reply to my email within 7 days or else I move on to the next in line. I’m not chasing you. Make sure your email is correct.
  • U.S. and Canada only.

 Disclosure: Anne Taintor Inc. is a current advertiser on the site. This isn’t part of the deal or anything, though. I just love her. Not in that kind of way, the other kind of way.

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